Sunday, July 24, 1864
[near the Jones house, on the Jerusalem plank road]
I have just found out a plan to rise. Doctor [Elijah Richardson] Craven has got to be one of the “big guns” of this war and I believe if you will write to him and tell him I must have a commission through his agency without fail, he will get it for me. If I only knew his address, I would write to him myself but I would rather you would do it for I think it would have a better effect. You must tell him that he got me in this army and now he must see that I get an appointment and tell him also that my heart and soul is in the crushing of this rebellion, therefore I enlisted three years longer. Tell him about Woodbury’s recommendation, what he said was the reason I have received no further promotions in the Battery, and then gently remind him of your kindness to him. I am not particular in what department I am in. All I want is a commission of some kind. Then after that, I will have my own way. I must have a start and the sooner it is given me, the better I will feel. Tell him that you know he can do anything he undertakes and he must do this little for us soon. Bring to bear all the relations between him and you. Tell him that after three years hard fighting labor for my country, I feel myself competent and I also feel that my country owes me as much as a shoulder strap. Tell him that I say, “as long as I remain a private (and I shall remain one till I can get a commission), I cannot show what I am made of or who I belong to.” I can stand and fight and go with my Battery in the thickest fights but it is all the same. They say if he only a private, it don’t make any difference, but I shan’t stand it much longer. I feel myself worthy of a commission and able to take it and will have it or I shall enter the secret corp—that is, I shall volunteer to be a spy. There is men wanted every day and before I will stay a private, till my time is out, I will run the risk of being hung up by the neck. But I would rather have the commission. Ask John Craven. If he feels so disposed, he can get it for me I know.
Please write to him as soon as possible. Tell him to use his utmost influence. Tell him I am not particular [even] if I have to go down where he is. Don’t fail to write to him immediately for I believe it all depends upon speedy action. I have given up all hopes for Mr. Hill although I believe he has done what he could for me.
I’m happy to say that by the blessing of God, I am still well and the weather has been fine. We have the best of living. We are still in camp. There are but a few shots exchanged along our lines. Give my love to Mother and all my friends. Hoping this will find you all well, I remain your son, — C. Van Houten